Battle for the harvest: how Internet of Things helps to feed humankind. Part 206 March 2017
We keep bringing news from fields! In the first publication, we have already told about innovative ways of pest control and water saving systems applied in the agricultural sector. They help a great majority of transplanted plants to pass a ripening stage safely. But then farmers face new challenges related with harvesting and protection from natural deterioration. The Internet of Things has something to offer in this case.
Tractors of new generation
knows that special tractors and combines are used for harvesting and plowing. They allow to speed up field work significantly, but even their power can be insufficient due to the population growth. There is also another problem: common tractors produce too many hazardous substances, tending to settle down and accumulate in soil, water and plants. Needless to say that it can result in unpleasant consequences for human health.
modern IoT technologies are aimed at modernization of existing farming equipment. Currently, the bee in the bonnet of a majority of manufacturers is to create driverless tractors that will be able to operate night and day unlike manned equipment. New models are also expected to be equipped with electric engines in order to protect environment from pollution. At the moment, there are also prototypes, but all of them are quite functional and conceal enormous potential.
А perfect example is Spirit tractor made by utonomous Tractor Cooperation (ATC). It is equipped with utoDrive technology, combining radio navigation and laser gyroscope with artificial intelligence technology. ll of this allows it to move autonomously, avoiding obstructions. Russian Cognitive Technologies company is also testing its analogue. Company’s tractor uses the machine vision system for land navigation. One more company, CNH Industrial, is developing the unmanned tractor based on LiDar technology. But as mentioned above, all these are prototypes. Developments of the intelligent agricultural transport are currently in full swing, but it will take lots of time until it is used in field conditions.
Nevertheless, there are developments that farmers can use right now. For instance, John Deere produces smart tractors equipped with sensors and GPS systems. Due to them, a commonly looking agricultural transport turns into a multifunctional machine.
Deere tractors can determine the humidity of plants while hay harvesting. Depending on this fact, a driver obtains a corresponding notification of the best possible speed required to stock up a hay bale of optimum size. Built-in GPS is able to manage crop pest control systems and fertilizer distribution tools.
Smart vegetable storehouse
When it comes to storing vegetables, fruit and grains after harvesting, farmers have a wide choice. Today, a lot of companies offer unique IoT solutions for upgrading vegetable storehouses. You can find more details in other website publications, and here we will provide only several examples.
- SmartBob. Designed by American BinMaster company, the technology features a system of sensors (ranging from 2 to 32) for remote measurement of bulk cargo (grains, seeds) and its inventory auditing.
- CheckItNow. The system for remote tracking of temperature in storages developed by the same-name company. The technology also features a chain of sensors, which send data to an operator in real-time mode, alerting them if temperature is becoming lower or above the limit.
- Yellow Box. The device developed by LoadOut Technologies. It allows farmers remotely manage load-and-unload processes of grains, vegetables and fruit. Yellow Box regularly sends transportation condition data to mobile application used to control its operation.